Social Media Tutorial

1.2 Introduction

Hi, I'm the President of SugarSpun Marketing and the Social Media Faculty Chair at Market Motive. Thanks for joining me for this brief introduction to social media.

1.3 The Social Media Obsession

You may have heard all of the news, everywhere, all over the place these days about social media and you may have noticed just how obsessed the marketing industry is with social media. And there's a very good reason for that. It's because when we look at traditional marketing and when we look at traditional advertising, it's all about pushing the message. It's about being creative enough with your TV ad or your radio ad or having the flashy enough billboard that you can get that message out in front of people in a way that they're going to notice and that they're going to digest it and hopefully act on it. But the reality is this is not the best way to get your message in front of someone. What's actually far more effective and what we have known for a very long time is that it's about getting that word of mouth recommendation, that friend to friend credibility. That says, hey I just came to your dinner party, and I was introduced to this new wine, that you loved, and you brought, and you said it was great, and hey, now I'm going to buy it for my next party too. It's about having the conversation around the water cooler about what TV show you're watching. Or it's about asking your friend who drives the minivan that you're looking at, how much they like it, before you make your own purchasing decision. It's these person to person, friend to friend conversations that really carry a great deal of weight and credibility in terms of convincing someone what products or services they might wish to purchase. Now the challenge was always in how you generated that word of mouth and how you got those conversations to take place to get those link-ups. But these days with social media and so much of the conversation taking place online via all these different channels, it's much, much easier for these conversations to take place. And it's much easier for brands to learn how to leverage these conversations and even encourage and enable these conversations to really increase the overall reach of their marketing.

1.4 Who Uses Social Media

Now when we look at social media and who's using it, there's still a fairly common misconception that social media trends towards the much younger demographics. We think of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and all of these other services, YouTube, as being about the younger crowd, the college-age kids, the young professionals. And it's very easy for a lot of businesses to write it off and say, that's not where my market is. But, the reality is, that's not the demographics we see in social media anymore. They're certainly there, but we see plenty of other demographics there as well. In fact, if we look at the demographic breakdown of a popular social media service like Twitter, we see that the greatest majority of Twitter users are actually in that 35 to 55 age, not in the 18 to 35 range. We look at a site like Facebook and women in the 55 plus crowd are the absolute fastest growing group of people on Facebook. In fact, the 55 plus crowd overall, experiences about 900% growth year over year on Facebook. So, what we're seeing now is that as the younger generation has become so used to using these different channels to interact with each other, they're actually bringing in their parents and their grandparents as a way to keep in touch. And that's allowing that age range to also begin connecting with each other. So social media has really, really expanded its reach in the last couple of years to really become a great opportunity for all types of businesses. Targeting all demographics to get in and take part in this area of marketing.

1.5 Social Media Impacts All Areas of Business

Now when we look at social media from the business perspective, and we try and consider how it might impact any particular area of our business. The great thing about social media is that there's so many different outlets for communication that it can really come into play all across the board within your business. Whether it's the president or CEO of your company deciding that they want to build up their reputation as a thought leader by launching a blog. Or it's your sales and PR team looking to make some new networking connections via a service like LinkedIn, so that they can get some great sales meetings set up. Or even if it's just your PR or customer service team scanning the conversations that might be taking place on Twitter or out in the blog world and responding to those concerns, responding to those customer issues. There are different ways that social media can come in across the board and can really impact a lot of different areas of your business.

1.6 Social Media In Small Businesses

The other great thing about social media is that it's not something that's really limited budget-wise. What we can do in terms of scope obviously changes but small businesses are using social media every bit as effectively as large businesses. And they're doing it within their own acceptable scale in terms of time and money and resources. So, we may see a very small business that’s putting as little as 20 to 30 minutes a day into their social media channels. They may have someone working as a part-time writer, publishing content to a blog or publishing content to twitter. They're popping in maybe once a day to respond to any blog comments they might be getting or to look and see what type of Facebook updates their fans have posted and respond to those. They're using free, great free conversation monitoring tools like Google Alerts and Social Mention that make it very easy to get a broad overview of the conversation online. And they're using very base-level analytics. They're just looking at how many followers they have, they may be doing some very base level conversion tracking, but overall, they're using these very powerful tools over a short amount of time. And they're really significantly impacting the bottom line of their business

1.7 Social Media In Medium Businesses

Now as we move into more mid-range, medium-sized businesses. Now we may be looking at a company that actually has someone whose responsibility it is on a daily basis to come in and work on the social media front. Maybe they have a social media specialist in-house. Maybe they've hired out to bring in a strategist who's going to help give some training and some direction. But this is where you tend to have one person who might be populating content across a couple of different outlets. Maybe they're adding in some multimedia along with the text, so maybe there's YouTube videos going up. They've got a little more frequent engagement going on. So instead of just checking once a day or a couple times a week, they're checking probably two or three times a day to see if there are any tweets to respond to, any Facebook updates to respond to. They might be using a lower level, but still subscription-based service, like Trackur or BrandsEye, to give them a little bit more powerful conversation monitoring, just to see what's being said, and where links are being generated. And they're probably doing a little bit better job with our analytics, integrating into something like Google Analytics, to make sure they're actually tracking things like engagement rates, or the different sites that links are coming through from.

1.8 Social Media In Big Businesses

Now, when we look at social media and we scale it up to big business. Now, we tend to be talking about companies that either have a full time dedicated person for social media or that might actually have an entire staff or an entire team of people. So this is where we have multiple writers, covering multiple outlets. So that people really have the ability to specialize. You may have one person who's in charge of all the Twitter conversation, one person who's in charge of anything on Facebook, but you're really integrating a lot of different forms of media into your overall social media campaigns. We're also looking at an immediate response level of engagement now. This is where we have people that are expected to be able to respond to a tweet within a couple minutes of it coming in, or to address a Facebook comment or a blog comment within minutes of it coming through. So they tend to be using more premium level conversation monitoring tools, Radiant 6, Scout Labs, and Grands Eye still comes into play here. But they are paying a decent amount of money. Generally 500 to 1,000 or even more per month to really track in depth the conversation that's taking place online. And they're using that data to really help them with their analytics to bring it up to a more customized level. So instead of just saying, social media generated X amount of dollars in sales, they're using different discount and coupon codes from different social media channels. And they're tracking to say YouTube produced this, or our blog produced that, or Twitter produced this for us. They've really got some good hardcore data that they can use to determine what they're going to do on the next go-round.

1.9 The Social Media Landscape

Now, even with understanding what social media is, and sort of how much time and effort it might take based on the size of your company, it's still really important to understand that the social media landscape is phenomenally huge. There are literally hundreds of thousands of different social media and interactive sites out there that you can get involved on. And it really depends on what your goals are, what your budget is, and what your timeline is to figure out what it is you can do.

1.10 Why Marketers Love Blogs

But when we look at the major players, the absolute biggest central part of social media is still going to be your blog. It's going to be the social media content that resides on your own website, on your own domain, where you can reap all of the benefits like constant link building. Getting out the credibility that comes with generating some good, resource based content. Those deep, topical links and that opportunity to soft sell. With blogs, one of the biggest benefits is the fact that RSS distribution is going to allow your customers to get an update anytime you post something new, instead of having to come back like they would with your website to see what's there. There's a lot of different ways to utilize a blog, as opposed to your standard corporate website that can really add a new communication channel for you with your customers, it can really work out in your benefit in terms of what you're doing with your online marketing.

1.11 What Is Twitter?

We also look at services like Twitter and if you're not familiar with Twitter you can basically think of Twitter as a sort of online version of note passing. What you're looking to do here is say these are the people that exist out in the world that I want to hear what they have to say. So it's an opportunity for you to build a resource that you can gather feedback and information from but it also gives you the chance to be one of these people that other people are opting to follow. So your business may be a professional services company and it's your opportunity to share news stories or share insight, or to answer people's questions. It also gives you a great opportunity to get out there and actually run keyword based searches to look for the conversations about your product or about your services and to have the chance to respond to them. There's also the chance now with Twitter to integrate more forms of media. Whether that's videos or whether that's photos, but to get those uploaded and to give people quick and easy access to them.

1.12 What Is Facebook?

Now Facebook is currently the absolute winner in the realm of social media. When we look at traffic and engagement rate and what we basically have going on with Facebook is a combination of three things. We've got congregation, conversation and publication, and this is where we see people coming together to connect with friends, family members, colleagues and to share information on a different level. So again instead of going back to those earlier slides I had or said, you might be at that dinner party and discover a new one, that you know, maybe there's five or six people at the Stenner party, and you're having a conversation about it. But if you discover that one at home on your own, and you Facebook about it, now it may actually broadcast out to the 300 or 400 people that you're friends with. There's a lot more reach because of that congregation aspect, and when we combine the conversation and publication front. This is an amazing opportunity for businesses to really get out there, and really engage with customers, and enable them to turn around and share, business based messages or words of affirmation about your company or your products, with their friend and with their family members where that increased credibility is taking place.

1.13 Media Sharing

Another opportunity that we have in the realm of social media is media sharing. And this is where we're looking at things like flickr, and YouTube, different places that you can take those forms of visual entertainment and upload them for people to be able to digest and share. So that may be going on YouTube and saying I'm going to post a side by side comparison of two different products, or I'm going to give you a walk through of how to install the Nerf bars that we sell in our truck accessory store. It's an opportunity to move beyond that pure text communication and give someone a nice visual demonstration. With Flickr, we've got the opportunity to come in and post photos, to aggregate photos. To let your customers submit photos that they've taken of your product or in your area or that are related to what your fan base might enjoy. So that you can really build up a good strong community and have an opportunity to connect on a, again more of a soft sale level like you would with your blog.

1.14 Social Check-Ins

Social check-ins is the area of social media that's really currently growing at the fastest pace, and that's getting an awful lot of attention right now. And basically what this is Is consumers that are using smartphones and GPS enabled phones have the ability to check in to a physical location that they might be going to. So, say they're popping into a restaurant or say they're stopping at a movie theater, they can check in to share this with their friends. Now the benefit on the social media marketing side, is this is giving businesses an amazing new opportunity to bring people into their physical store locations, like they have never been able to do before. Because once you take part in these services and Foursquare is a great example of them, if you've claimed your listing on Foursquare you now have the ability to push offers or discounts to people. So if the girl sitting here has just checked into the Gap because she's waiting to meet one of her friends, the Cinnabon that's in the same mall can automatically push her a message that says, come down to Cinnabon right now and show us this message and we'll give you buy one get one free. So it's a completely new way to get the marketing message out in the here, and now based on who might be in your location and who might want to interact with you.

1.15 Putting It All Together

So what is really all about in this realm of social media, is taking the time to learn about these different social media channels whether it's micro medias like Twitter or whether it's social networks like Facebook or whether it's a review site like Yelp or Its understanding the ways that you could connect with, speak to, and even push messages through to your audience, and learning how to focus your attention in different areas to pick up your potential customers at the moment that their most receptive to your message. And that then way that their going to be most receptive to your message. And that wraps up our introduction to all things social media thanks so much for joining me.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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